[Image description: An image of Dawn M. E. Picone, Psy.D., LCSWR, BCTMH, QCS. The text "Addressing Fears about Starting Therapy" is over a gray background.]
Thinking of trying online therapy? It is a great idea! Going to a brick and mortar office can be time consuming and sometimes expensive. You may have to use public transportation, pay for parking, and/or take time off from work. Online therapy is less time consuming and you have the benefit of seeing a provider from wherever you are most comfortable. All you need is privacy and access to the internet and a smartphone, computer, or tablet. Also, it may be easier to book an appointment online than to see someone in person since providers are often available online on nights, weekends, and some holidays. Plus, you can get to know your provider before you set up a visit by reading their bio and ratings.
What are the typical fears surrounding online therapy?
Some hesitations about online therapy are like those of in-person visits. For example, many people starting therapy have concerns about talking to a stranger, sharing their personal thoughts and emotions, and feeling vulnerable in general. The good news is therapists are trained to help make you feel as comfortable and supported as possible, which may mean offering for you to see them from your couch instead of theirs. Plus, you can share whatever makes you would like, and you may find that you’ll naturally start opening up a bit more as you build a relationship with your therapist.
Another common question that comes up for people who are thinking about starting online therapy is confidentiality. You can rest assured that the same guidelines of confidentiality for brick and mortar practices apply to online therapy. All your information is protected and Amwell is safe, secure, and HIPPA-compliant. You may even find there is more privacy when meeting online because it eliminates the potential of running into someone you know in the waiting room. If you are concerned about a family member or friend coming into your room at home while you are having a visit, try giving them a heads up that you will need some privacy during that time.
Qualifications of the therapist is another point of discussion for many people. All Amwell therapists are required to submit their credentials before they begin seeing clients. Some people may have concerns that their therapist will be judgmental, but there is no need to worry about that — therapists are professionally trained to support you, just like any other healthcare provider.
Are there any concerns that cannot be addressed in online therapy?
Individuals who will likely find the most success with online therapy might be dealing with grief, bereavement, relationship problems, stress, depression, anxiety, trauma, anger, obsessive-compulsive behaviors/thoughts, and more. You can also speak with a psychiatrist about prescriptions and medication management if needed. While Amwell therapists can treat the vast majority of challenges, there are some obstacles, such as significant cognitive impairment, that are best approached in person. You can ask your doctor or schedule an appointment with an Amwell therapist to find out whether online therapy is the best option for you.
What might we cover during an online therapy visit?
This is a great question! Online therapy allows for many of the same treatments as in-person therapy. Here are some of the most common therapies used on Amwell:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) — Helps you shift certain behaviors that may be causing discomfort and focuses on the here and now
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) — Uses mindfulness-based practices and more to cope with, and sometimes treat, symptoms
- And more — This may include additional therapies and/or a combination of CBT and DBT
Whether or not you know what you want to cover during your online visit, a therapist can help you identify what is best for you. We can guide and/or you can lead. We hope to see you online soon!